How I'm A Pro-Choice Christian
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How I'm A Pro-Choice Christian

Many people fail to realize the complexity of labeling yourself as a Christian who also identifies as pro-choice.

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How I'm A Pro-Choice Christian
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In my brief two years of exploring how to live the most compassionate and ethical lifestyle, I have found that political awareness is integral to this process. I think most people would agree that abortion is easily one of the most polarizing and divisive issues in American politics. And while many often make the misplaced assumption that because I identify as a Christian, I am pro-life.

In fact, I am vehemently pro-choice. And for many people who advocate for reproductive rights, this belief comes easily, but for me, it was the exact opposite. In the process of trying to understand the complex and nuanced issue that is abortion, I have lost the respect of many of my family members and I have really doubted my beliefs at times.

Abortion is a topic I have thought long and hard about and researched thoroughly before concluding that I identify as pro-choice. Regardless of what your opinion on abortion is, I hope you can hear me out and listen to understand, not to respond. This will be a lengthy discussion but if any issue deserves a thorough discussion, it's this one.

Before I tell you what I currently believe, I must first tell you the evolution of my view on abortion. I grew up in a culturally Christian town and family that was, by nature, very conservative. So naturally, as I grew up, I aligned with the only narrative that was being presented: abortion was murder, across the board, with no exceptions.

I truly believed that it was the black-and-white issue that many pro-life people continue to paint this issue as. I even went to a "protest", if you can call standing at the four-way in my town of two thousand people a protest, at thirteen.

The extent of this protest was held the notorious signs that said "Adoption: the loving option" and "abortion kills babies" and "praying for America". I can sadly admit, I had no clue about the intricate topic that is abortion.

All I knew was that all babies deserved to live, or so I believed. I even remember having conversations with a friend of mine about how abortion was never okay even if someone raped the woman. My, oh my, how my opinions have changed.

I started to open my mind in the few months before Trump was elected; I remember calling myself a pro-life feminist and really wanting to support Hillary Clinton. However, I still couldn't get behind supporting someone who was pro-choice. And, in fact, I remember sharing something on Facebook a few months before the election that said: "Even though I despise everything that this man stands for, I could never support someone who agrees with abortion".

But, that night, everything changed and the wheels slowly began to turn in the other direction. I saw an article from Christianity Post that proved abortion rates were historically lowered under Democratic presidents.

And, if you think about it, it makes sense that abortion rates would be lower under presidents who support comprehensive sexual education in public schools and affordable access to birth control and other contraceptives.

Logically, it makes sense that when people can access reproductive healthcare, there will be less unplanned and unwanted pregnancies and, therefore, fewer abortions. I vividly remember my mind being blown at the fact I could now openly support Hillary Clinton and would have an adequate rebuttal for my conservative friends and family about how I could support her. From here on, I educated myself and listened to the stories of women who had abortions.

But, much to my initial dismay, I realized that abortion was not as simple as I had previously believed it to be. And, in fact, it was one of the most complicated political issues that the media was actively shedding light on. One of my favorite books I have ever read briefly addressed abortion in a way I had not yet encountered.

The book, Sold by Patricia McCormick, states, "This is also the season when the women drink the blue-black juice of the marking nut tree to do away with the babies in their wombs—the ones who would be born only to be buried next season". This quote really helped me to gain perspective and realize that abortion will happen whether it is legal or not.

If women in a rural mountain village in Nepal are forced to give themselves homemade abortions, women in America will surely attempt it too. Another resource I found was a video by Iris titled "Abortion Stories Before Roe v. Wade".

This video truly flipped the script for me because it showed what not having access to safe and legal abortion does to women. It kills them, criminalizes them, scars them for life, leaves them open to being sexually abused, gives them massive deadly infections, leaves their children without a mother, and countless other atrocities.

Sadly, when I was wrongfully advocating for the pro-life agenda, I had no clue about any of these harsh realities that so many women endure. I have heard so many stories from women who already have three or four children and simply cannot afford to have another child.

Many pro-life advocates will quickly rebuke that there are options to help care for children but what happens if this family is now on food stamps, Medicaid, and the mother can no longer work because childcare is too expensive? Women and families get painted with the labels "entitled", "lazy", and are "leeching off of the system".

All of this for doing the very thing you demanded they do: have another child they could not afford. Many women get pregnant despite doing everything in their power to not get pregnant, do you really think they should have their lives completely and permanently altered despite doing everything in their power to prohibit a pregnancy?

I won't apologize for defending a woman's right to choose when or if she has a child. What about the women who get pregnant by their rapist? They would then be forced to face memories of the worst night of their life every time they looked at their child. No child deserves to live in a family where it is not wanted and will probably be resented.

And sure, some women will not view their child this way but some women will (hello, Olivia Benson anyone?). For my whole life, I have loved children. In fact, it would surprise me if one of these days I don't end up with a large family through adoption and foster care. But I also fiercely believe that children should not be born into families that do not want them. I do not want more babies born for the sake of appeasing old, white men who will never have to care for those children a day in their lives. I do not want more children going into a broken foster care system. I do not want more babies going into unsafe home environments where they are at a high propensity to be physically and sexually abused, malnourished, and not be loved the way that they deserve. I want children to be given every opportunity to thrive, not just survive. The goal in life is not to survive your childhood, it is to live your childhood. There are already enough children that already exist who in need of loving homes, we do not need more.

The people I talk to are often perplexed that I, as a Christian, can support abortion. And the simple reason I am okay with it is that I believe that God is very intentional about everything he places in our lives.

I do not believe that God if he were against abortion, would give children to women when he knew that they would shortly be aborted. That does not make logical sense for an all-knowing higher power. I believe that when God gives a woman a child who will be aborted that it is for some greater purpose.

I have no idea what that purpose is, but I know that the God I believe in does not make mistakes. And as for Christians who believe that abortion is wrong, I ask you, where exactly do you think aborted babies go? Do you not believe that they go to rest in the arms of our savior?

Do you not believe that in sparing children from being born into homes that do not want them we are sparing them unbearable pain? Do you not believe in letting children with hopeless medical malformations pass peacefully instead of living for a few short hours and suffering just for the sake of "choosing life"?

Do you not believe that the beloved women who have an abortion should also have a quality of life? If the people who care so much about three-week-old embryos actually cared about the women carrying them, this argument would not exist.

I will not deny that fetuses are proof of potential life, that is basic biology, but I believe that we should focus on caring for the women and children are already in the world. And many will rebuke this with the argument you can care about them both but that is not the narrative perpetuated by the pro-life movement.

And even if you don't agree with abortion, here's an article that displays why you should support organizations like Planned Parenthood.

If you are still against abortion, let me help dispel some common misconceptions. The first one is that if you are pro-choice, you must be "for" abortion. I'm here to tell you that nobody likes abortion. It is an ugly, painful, personal issue that so many women face. I truly pray that I will never have to face that harrowing choice. The difference is that pro-choice people believe in the choice to choose whether to have an abortion or not. There are many pro-choice women who wouldn't get an abortion. To be a true feminist, in my eyes, is to realize that even though an issue may not directly affect you, it can have a profound impact on the lives of others.

Now, to speak to the fear-mongering that is used often within the Evangelical church, in response to many issues, including abortion. Many pro-life supporters show graphic, awful photos of children who have been miscarried or subject to late-term abortions because of medical necessity.

(Hello, remember when Ben Shapiro "destroyed" the abortion debate with this tactic?). A few months ago in church (*gasp* yes, I go to church), my pastor spoke to fear as a tactic that is often used by the Evangelical church. Much of the animosity and fear culture in the U.S. has come directly from the same pulpit where people claim to "love all, serve all".

Tactics like forcing a woman to hear the heartbeat of the fetus to scare her into not choosing to abort. A heartbeat merely means that the fetus is alive, not necessarily viable which is a huge issue with the "heartbeat bills" that are being proposed in several states.

Not to mention that scientists can make a heartbeat in a petri dish. Along with this tactic is using graphics showing abortions that are not medically accurate, having three-year-olds voice anti-choice commercials, and equating newborn babies with an embryo.

Now to speak to the hot button issue of abortions performed later in pregnancy. This aspect of abortion is the one most highly focused on but in reality, only 1.2% of abortions occur after 21 weeks.

It has been scientifically proven that due to a lack of development in the frontal cortex, fetuses cannot feel pain until the neurons that transmit pain signals develop which happen at around 23-24 weeks.

Moreover, it is difficult to measure whether a fetus truly feels pain because it is a subjective feeling. It is likely that fetuses do not truly feel pain until the third trimester when they exhibit signs of being "awake" and exhibit many more reflexes.

Most fetuses that are aborted feel no pain at all because they are performed in the first trimester. What so many people do not understand is that women rarely, if ever, carry a child to nearly full-term only to realize that they no longer want a child.

It is so disrespectful to families that have lost babies or had to have late-term abortions due to a medical necessity to share photos of those babies who were so wanted and loved for the sake of fear-mongering women into having children they do not want or can care for.

One woman, Alexis, candidly shared her experience with a late-term abortion and I truly believe that everyone needs to hear her story because it truly shows the complexity of the issue.

You can probably notice that a lot of what I am talking about relates to policy and general politics, not religion and one reason is that the Bible does not explicitly condemn abortion. Although being pro-life is "the Christian perspective", the Bible merely states that when we were in our mother's womb, He knew us.

And I will not contest that, I believe that but I do not believe that these few verses are enough to prove that in all cases abortion is "morally reprehensible". I also believe that even though my faith is integral to who I am, my religion, or any religion, in fact, should impose values in the political sphere.

If you think God does not want you to have an abortion, don't have one. That would be a perfect example of you exercising your choice. But don't take that choice away from other women for the sake of appeasing a higher power that not everybody believes in.

The Republican party runs on the idea that it is the Christian party and that Democrats are against religion and want to abolish it as an institution. Even though conservatives love to boast about freedom of religion, they do not mention that the first amendment also affords us freedom from religion.

I do not believe that religion has a place in the political sphere. Obviously, a person's religion will influence their moral beliefs and standards but I do not think we should equate being religious to being a morally sound person.

That is why I believe that religion needs to be ousted from the abortion argument: because it does not apply to everybody. Another tactic used by the anti-choice movement is by exploiting women who have regretted their abortions.

Most women do not regret their abortions and it also begs the question of why these women regret their choice. I have noticed that more often than not it is because someone forced these women into having their abortions, which is not okay.

I have said it time and time again; I have never met someone who is pro-abortion; nobody likes abortion. The difference between pro-choice and pro-life people is the ability to view abortion as a complex, multi-faceted issue with a lot of nuances wound within it.

As for how I am a pro-choice Christian, all I can say is I follow my heart, and I have felt called to stand with and up for women and their ability to make their own decisions.

After all, a woman knows her body better than anyone; better than you and me and certainly better than a room of entitled, white men who somehow get to make all the decisions that directly affect her life. I know it is cliche but I truly believe that it is her body and, therefore, her choice.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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